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Friday, March 27, 2009

Second Maternity Top

Here is the second of my new spring maternity shirts.  This is actually a "test" for one in nicer fabric (although this is some lovely shirting I just got cheap as a remnant at a local store).  I don't call it a muslin since I planned to wear it all along if the fit was good enough.  Really good thing I did a test, too, not because there was anything wrong with the pattern, but there was significant operator error...  

The pattern is Burda 7800.  If you've ever sewn a Burda pattern before (which I have - I have no excuse), you know that seam allowances aren't included.  You have to add them on yourself.  See where this is going??

I just cut the pieces out on auto pilot and didn't add seam allowances.  When I realized this (when pieces weren't fitting together at all!), I sewed the shirt together with little 1/4" seams and hoped it would be big enough.  This is the result:

Good enough for maternity wear.  :-)  Actually, I am happy with it.  The sleeves are a bit snug (seam allowances) and the neckline is pretty open for a collared shirt (seam allowances), but other than that, it's great.  I'm going to forge ahead with the second one in the same size, but WITH the seam allowances added.  :-)  

Changes I made to this pattern: didn't do the tucks on the upper front section due to the striped fabric, and left off all the buttons.  I sewed the placket together to a modest level and left the rest open.  I also sewed the sleeve vents closed rather than fiddling with buttons.  On the second version, I do have buttons for the placket, but I'm just going to leave the sleeve vent off all together.  Just too much trouble for a maternity shirt I'll be wearing for two months, in my opinion.  :-)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Maternity top?!?

Actually, I made two maternity tops in the past week.  Shock!  Awe!  And I said I wasn't going to sew maternity stuff.  Oh well.  I needed some spring tops.

This pattern is Burda 7360.  It's actually a dress pattern for woven fabric.  I shortened it to be a top and had to take in all the seams quite a bit for my fabric.  The fabric is purple modal jersey from a local fabric store.  It's sooooo silky.  I wore this top all day with a cardigan and feel like I'm wearing pajamas.  The ring at the bust is a belt buckle I added for a little pizzazz.

I'm really happy with how this top came out.  It's light and comfy and fits!  Perfect for being pregnant in spring... if spring ever comes, that is.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

T-shirt in 24 hours

Between last evening and the little man's nap today, I whipped up this top from Butterick 3344 (now out of print).  The fabric is a bright, bright aqua blue rayon jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics.  My photo doesn't really show the color well.  I took the photo in the evening, so that's the artificial light for ya.

I've always wondered why anyone would sew a t-shirt.  I mean, you can buy them super cheap, right?  Well, now I know why.  I have the color I want in the style I want, and it fits (well, fits my belly for now, and it'll fit me for a while post-partum without re-sewing the side seams).  ...and the fabric, oh, the fabric. It feels like silk.  It's sooo soft and lightweight.  

This wasn't super-cheap.  The fabric was $14 plus a few bucks for thread, but I think it was definitely worth it.  

The only changes I made to the pattern are changing the sleeve length to 3/4 for spring, lengthening the hem by about 5", and I left the elastic out of the wrap front edge.  I did put the elastic in my white knit top from this pattern, but with this very lightweight fabric, it just didn't work.  I'm very pleased that the neckline lays flat without it.

Not sure why the sleeves look uneven... I promise they're the same length!

Monday, March 16, 2009

Knit top directions

Ok, here are directions on how I made my knit top (please ignore the stoned look - working with a timer!). 
First, I cut six 1/2 inch wide strips from selvage to selvage (60" wide fabric means 60" strips).  I just eyeballed this as I cut.  The fabric rolled so much, measuring the strips would have driven me nuts!
Next, I braided these into two long braids, knotting the ends.  I didn't finish the edges at all.  The fabric curls, so it was like braiding tubes.  I tried to keep the cut edges to the back of the braid but didn't stress too much about it.  I used heavy sewing scissors to hold down the braid as I worked.
Ok, actually I first made one braid that was too narrow for my liking.  You can see the first one at the top, compared to the bottom two, which I used.
Then, I cut out two identical pieces for the front and back.  Here's a little schematic of the measurements I used.  It's basically a T-shape with the underarms rounded off.  For reference, I have a 36" bust and was easily able to get these pieces and the braid strips out of one yard of fabric.  There's not much leftover, though.  :-) 
Finally, the construction:
1.  sewed the side and underarm seams on sewing machine.
2.  tacked top of sleeve ends together and the areas on the shoulders that I wanted joined (leaving slits open over the edge of the shoulders and upper arms).  I tried the top on and pinned to decide where to sew the top of the shoulders together.  Clear as mud?
3.  hand sewed the braid on, one braid on front and one braid on back.  They turned out to be the perfect length (lucky!).  The braids join at the under-side of the sleeves.  I machine-sewed the ends of the braid to the shirt under the sleeves and cut off the knots.  I sewed both edges of the braid down to the shirt to make sure it lays flat, and where the shirt front and back are sewn together on the machine, I hand sewed the two sides of braid together over the shirt seam as well.
4.  hand sewed the hem.  If you have a coverstitch machine or are less neurotic than me, there's no reason you'd have to hand-sew this part.  :-)

Here is the final top, laid flat to see the shape.
If anyone actually makes a version of this, let me know!  

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Bamboo Jersey Braid-Trimmed Top

Here was my inspiration photo, from page 44 of the February Lucky Magazine.  I can't find the exact shirt online anywhere, but the designer is GF Ferre, and the price quoted in Lucky is $355.  (My fabric was $14 for one yard, and I used leftover thread from something else.)
I didn't do the split neck thing because I figured it'd flop all over the place and never stay down - like whenever I try to wear a cardigan open at the top.  My sleeves also came out longer, but after sewing down all the braid, I wasn't about to take it off the sleeves and make them shorter.  Finally, I stitched a longer section together on the shoulders, so I don't have to worry about my bra strap showing.

The fabric is bamboo/cotton jersey from Gorgeous Fabrics.  It is sooooo soft and light and drapey.  I think the color was called "dark marine blue" or something like that, and that's a good description.  It's a dark blue with a grayish-green tint.  This color is sold out, but there is still green and brown in stock.

Maybe after the baby comes, I'll go back to the machine and take in the side seams to make it more form-fitting below the arms, but for now it has plenty of room for the belly, and since it's such a soft, fluid jersey, I don't think it will look tent-like as-is after the baby comes.

Probably the coolest thing about finishing this top is how impressed my husband was.  He'll generally make a nice comment when I finish something, but he seemed genuinely surprised by this one.  :-)  Makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

My $350 top is almost done!

Ooooh, I can't wait to show my new top tomorrow!  I just have to sew the hem.  I would have finished it last night if a certain little boy hadn't kept creeping down the stairs.  (How do I not rock him and tuck him back in when he's dragging his blanket and asking for "ma ma"??) 

Time requirement was:
1 hour for cutting and braiding strips for trim and cutting out 2 top pieces
30 minutes for machine sewing
2 1/2 hours (plus about another 1/2 hour tomorrow for the hem) of hand sewing!!

There was a LOT of braid to sew on.  However, this is hands down my favorite sewing outcome in a long time (and I was really happy with my last few projects).  

I'm just so excited to show!  And I documented the process just in case you want to make one, too.  :-)

Friday, March 13, 2009

Braided jersey

After maybe a week of diligently finishing UFOs as I planned, I'm starting to get ansy.  I've crossed 3 of the the nine things off my list.  I thought I was doing better than that!  

Anyway, while continuing to plug away at that stuff, I am thinking of some dark blue bamboo jersey I recently got from Gorgeous Fabrics.  Reading through one of my magazines last night, there was a page on braided embellishments, and a $350 knit top just spoke to me!  Sorry, I can't find a pic online.  

So, using that as my inspiration, and not copying exactly, here's my sad little sketch:

My camera just would not focus on this.  The note says "split sleeves."  This should be super easy once I figure out how I want to do the braiding.  The top is just two pieces - the sleeves are included.  The shoulders are joined on either side of a boatneck opening, and then the sleeves are left split until the very bottom.

I want the top to be pretty loose and drapey below the shoulders, so fit shouldn't be a problem.  I may even be able to wear this now for a while before I get enormous, and I hope it will disguise my post-partum belly when that time comes.  I picture this with wide-leg, casual white linen pants.  Oh, spring, please come to me!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Early Easter Dress

I decided to make this dress for Easter, and it's done early for once!  The pattern is New Look 6571.

You can see from this back view that there are wrinkles caused by my belly pulling everything forward in combination with my arched back.  I'm not concerned because A: this isn't a maternity pattern and B: I plan to wear this dress after the baby comes, too.
Here's the side view.  I just made a simple belt to enhance the wrap look.  Pattern review is here if you're interested.

Monday, March 9, 2009

White cropped pants that I can't wear!!

Woohoo!!  Gotta love an opening with a butt shot.  Actually, I'm sparing you from a front view of my unbuttoned, unzipped pants.  Here's the front:And here's the fly opening:And the inside with lining:
There's not much to say about these pants.  I really love how they turned out.  The fabric is cotton/spandex from Sawyer Brook Distinctive Fabrics.  After washing and ironing, the look is still pretty wrinkly, which I think adds some character to these basic pants. 

I made view B and omitted the piping.  Obviously, I cropped the length and removed the flare below the knees.  I also used wider, single belt carriers instead of the doubled ones in the pattern.  I topstitched around the waistband, also.  If you're interested, you can see the pattern review here.

And isn't this the handsomest little man!  He's always had a fascination with the camera, but he recently decided it's more than just a cool gadget with lots of buttons.  Mommy can take his picture and he can check himself out!  Gotta love that Saturday morning hair.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Sewing swimwear?

Lately, I've been obsessing about sewing a swimsuit.  Now, in March in Germany, while 6 months pregnant, I have absolutely no need for swimwear, but I'm dreaming about it just the same.  While I have countless bikinis, I only have one one-piece, and I definitely won't be wanting to wear those bikinis to take my little man to the pool after popping out a kid in June.  I am refusing to buy any supplies right now, though.  I have been buying quite a lot of fabric recently, after several months of buying nothing.  I need to sew down some of this excess.  

I'm thinking a bandeau tank or tankini with lots of boning and support for the girls.  I'd also make a strap in case it just wouldn't stay up.  I really like this one from J Crew.  (J Crew pics are linked)
... maybe it reminds me of my wedding dress.  What do you think?

By the way, that's my awesome mom, who made my awesome dream dress!

I also really love this one, but I think that draped top would be difficult to do without a pattern (and so far, I haven't found one too similar - just twist tops).  I can't visualize what the pattern piece would look like.  I can see there's a center seam between the bust, but I'm not sure...

I think I would convert either one into a long tankini, too.  I think it would be easier to fit without worrying so much about the length and pulling the top part down.  Also, I could make it a little swingier to camo the belly more.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Finally, something knitted to show!

I thought it was about time to show something.  My parents were just visiting for a week and a half, so nothing really new to show, but I did block the lace scarf I finished last month.  I started this in August 08.  It's my first lace project, and, as stated in an earlier post, I'm hooked!

Here's a belly shot.  Only three more months until the little alien, ahem, I mean angel, emerges.
I thought my kitty might want to model for me!  Not so much.  Apparently this was a bit too girly for him.  The color in this photo is really close to life.

Here's a close-up of the edging.  I think this was a good first lace scarf choice.  The needles were small, but the pattern was simple.  I do see a few mistakes now that it's blocked, but that just adds to the handmade loveability.  
I hope to have a bunch more finished things to show this month.  I have designated March my finishing UFOs month, both knitting and sewing.  

WARNING:  Stop here if you don't want to hear a boring list of projects in the works!!

Here they are, in no particular order:

Sewing -
1.  Easter dress.  I actually just started this in late February, and yes, it does fit over my belly.  I just have to make the ties.
2.  khaki jacket for SWAP.  Ran into a bit of trouble with the bound button holes, but now it just needs the lining.
3.  Winter coat for Great Coat Sew Along.  Oh, my old nemesis.  Why can't I just put on the pocket flaps and hem the lining and be done with it!?!?!?!
4.  Polka dot dress hem.  This is silly.  I've had it for a year just waiting for a hem.  Of course, it won't fit right now.
5. Leather purse.  I got the buckles, so there's nothing holding me back now.
6.  Put lining in white cropped pants and tailor pant legs a bit.
7.  Try to salvage the blue knit twist top.  I actually could wear this now if spring would come!

1.  Photograph vest for my man.  I blocked it yesterday.  This was over a year in the making.
2.  Weave in ends and block new sweater for me.  This actually involves a bit of crochet and another run for buttons, so this may be a stumbling block.

I MUST finish these things before starting anything new.  The UFO pileup is ridiculous.  I think it's because a lot of this stuff I can't wear/use right now, so the sense of urgency and excitement is lost a bit.  As I said before, though, I have little desire to sew maternity things, and I do have sewing mojo to spare!

After these things are finished (well, I told myself I had to finish (or give up and throw away) all but one - I think I was leaving myself an out for that coat - I have some things to make that aren't dependent on fitting me.  They are:

1.  pillow covers for the living room.  The white sofas and chairs and walls need a serious pick-me-up for spring.  I already have the Amy Butler fabric.
2.  patio tablecloth and chair cushions (if fabric permits).  I'm going to use toile and striped canvas I got a few years ago to make bags, but my big plan didn't pan out.  Frankly, the bags were just too much work!
3.  Outfits for the new baby and the little man I already have running around.  Yes, I am the kind of mother who will make her children wear matching outfits until they are old enough to be embarrassed.  
4.  silk blouse/tank top.  Ooooooh, in my mind, this is going to be so beautiful, and it's not really form-fitting, so I think I can swing it.
5.  vintage linen shirt.  Again, not really form-fitting.  I want to be able to wear it soon after the baby comes.

So those are my big plans.  Just have to keep up the mojo during March, and then, look out, world.